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Trial by Fire - Did Texas execute an innocent man?

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The fire moved quickly through the house, a one-story wood-frame structure in a working-class neighborhood of Corsicana, in northeast Texas. Flames spread along the walls, bursting through doorways, blistering paint and tiles and furniture. Smoke pressed against the ceiling, then banked downward, seeping into each room and through crevices in the windows, staining the morning sky.
Buffie Barbee, who was eleven years old and lived two houses down, was playing in her back yard when she smelled the smoke. She ran inside and told her mother, Diane, and they hurried up the street; that’s when they saw the smoldering house and Cameron Todd Willingham standing on the front porch, wearing only a pair of jeans, his chest blackened with soot, his hair and eyelids singed. He was screaming, “My babies are burning up!” His children—Karmon and Kameron, who were one-year-old twin girls, and two-year-old Amber—were trapped inside.
Willingham told the Barbees to call the Fire Department, and while Dia…

Lawmaker submits Oregon Death Penalty Repeal

Oregon state Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D-Portland) plans to introduce a bill proposing a constitutional amendment to repeal the death penalty and substitute life in prison without possibility of parole. If the legislators pass the bill, Oregonians would then vote on the amendment in the 2014 general election.

1 year ago, Governor John Kitzhaber stayed the execution of Gary Haugen, convicted of 2 murders and sentenced to die by lethal injection. Kitzhaber declared, "I will not allow further executions while I am Governor" and called upon all Oregonians "to consider a different approach." He asked the legislature to bring potential reforms before the 2013 legislative session.

Gov. Kitzhaber wrote, "The death penalty as practiced in Oregon is neither fair nor just." He believes that it is "morally wrong."

It is also very expensive, far more expensive than life in prison without parole. Senior Judge Timothy Alexander, who himself has been involved in death-penalty cases for more than 40 years, said the prolonged court process and number of appeals has made the death-penalty system in Oregon ineffective.

The death penalty was repealed by voters in 1964, re-enacted in 1978, declared unconstitutional by the Oregon Supreme Court in 1981, and reinstated by voters in 1984. It will take a constitutional amendment to repeal the death penalty again.

There are presently 37 inmates on death row in Oregon.

Source: Oregon Faith News Note, November 28, 2012

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